Here’s something a lot of people forgot was happening: the Library of Congress was, since 2010, archiving literally every single tweet. Every single tweet – from Trump‘s demented screeds to your tweets about the weather – was being collected and stored by the biggest library in the United States. This was intended to be invaluable resource for researchers in future, who could find out what the stupidest and most annoying people on the planet thought of various world events.
Not anymore! According to the blog of the Library of Congress, they’re no longer going to be collecting every tweet willy-nilly:
The Library now has a secure collection of tweet text, documenting the first 12 years (2006-2017) of this dynamic communications channel—its emergence, its applications and its evolution. Today, we announce a change in collections practice for Twitter. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Library will acquire tweets on a selective basis—similar to our collections of web sites.
What that means is that the Library will only be archiving tweets it deems significant. So Trump’s screeds? Check. Your tweets about the weather? Probably not, no.
“Generally, the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy,” the Library announced.
Part of the move comes as a result of the new 280 character limit, which bumps the storage requirements for an archive.
As part of the white paper announcing the move, the Library of Congress confirmed that they’ve not actually been collecting photos along with the text of tweets anyway. Which is kinda big – a huge portion of tweets these days have a photo or video attached to them. So it looks like it wasn’t really archiving much of Twitter anyway.
There you go. Don’t worry: intelligence agencies are still almost certainly archiving literally everything you do online anyway – so your tweets are still getting monitored for nefarious reasons. Just not for innocent research! Yay!Image: Getty Images